When twin brothers Taiga and Taku Ball graduated from Brooks Secondary , they both knew that they wanted to go to university, but their paths diverged the following September.  Although the journey they took through their first year after high school was quite different, their paths have now converged: they are moving on to the Bachelor of Education program at VIU Nanaimo with a head start on their electives and Canadian Studies courses after studying at VIU’s tiwšɛmawtxʷ Campus.

After high school, Taiga wasn’t sure what he wanted to major in. He thought he might want to go into Nursing at VIU Nanaimo, a fiercely competitive program, but he missed the grade cut-off. He was accepted into Kinesiology at UBC Okanagan, but he wasn’t sure whether that was the program for him, so he decided to stay in Powell River for a year to take courses at the VIU tiwšɛmawtxʷ Campus and gain confidence.  He says this was a great decision: the courses “weren’t easy at all,” but the atmosphere was supportive.  He liked being able to study with a mix of people he knew and “adults with different perspectives, different ideas.” His advice for people wondering about how to get started at university is to “try anything,” especially general courses in a first year, to “find out what they like and their interests are.” He says, “It doesn’t matter what academic level, everyone should try out first year here” at VIU Powell River because “you get a touch of university life.”  He also highly recommends taking a full course load (he took courses in English, Psychology, Sociology, Geography, Anthropology, and Economics) because one course helps out with another.  He credits the small class sizes at the tiwšɛmawtxʷ campus with contributing to his education since students “can just ask on the spot” for help and he stresses that he “learned life skills” and “the lecture classes weren’t dull.”  He now knows what he wants to major in and is ready to carry on beyond Powell River.

Taku knew after high school that he wanted to become a teacher and he decided to start university at UBC Okanagan in Kelowna having attended a camp there during high school.  However, his fall semester in Kelowna was not what he had expected.  First, he was unable to start on Education courses at UBCO until his fourth year, so he was taking general courses and combining his full course load with the distractions of the “party city” around him and he found that his life lacked balance.  He had given up sports, wasn’t getting enough exercise, was studying late at night, and found his confidence slipping.  After that first semester, he decided to return to Powell River to complete the year, and he took English, Sociology, Psychology, and Anthropology with his brother.  He noticed more one-on-one individual attention from faculty at the local campus and said everyone was open and helpful and he got to know “every single person” in his classes.  Away from the party city, he was able to get some balance back in his life, too.  Taku’s advice to students making their way into university is to talk to counsellors and seek help immediately if they find themselves getting lost, and above all, “stick with your hobby.” A hallmark of the local campus for him was that “people show interest in you,” and that helps everyone be more open.

After a different start to their post-secondary journey, Taku and Taiga are on the same path, heading to VIU Nanaimo’s Bachelors of Education program with elective credits under their belts and the confidence to carry on with their post-secondary journey.

Update: Taiga and Taku both continued on in the Education Program. Taiga recently graduated from UVic with a Bachelor of Education degree and is awaiting admission to the Master of Education Program at VIU, and Taku is currently pursuing his Bachelor of Education at VIU with one year left to complete his degree.